|Inspired by Blue Hill’s|
Inspiration of this chocolate bread came from an unlikely source. We were celebrating a milestone birthday for my husband a week ago. I was lucky and thrilled to get a last-minute reservation at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I have tried to get a reservation there for years and sort of given up; it’s almost impossible to get a table on weekends. It is the ultimate farm-to-table restaurant serving innovative sustainable food, even before the movement becomes mainstream. Most of the vegetables are grown on the four-seasons farm nearby at Pocantico Hills, founded by the Rockefeller family, outside of New York city. There is no menu. They serve a tasting (grazing) menu according to what’s seasonal and available on the day.
The chocolate bread was served for dessert with a caramel sauce. We knew it was going to be a treat even before it landed on our table. The patrons in the next table were finishing their dessert when we started with our appetizers. They couldn’t stop raving about how the bread was the best dessert they’ve ever had with such accolade and enthusiasm. You couldn’t avoid not noticing the comment. We had high expectation for this bread.
We were not disappointed. I also packed one piece to try it at home the day after. The bread was truly amazing.
This is a dessert bread, as earthy and common as the daily bread, that can hold up against any desserts. It reminds me of the chocolate, cheese and petit fours served at some of the Michelin-starred establishments in France. This bread can be firmly placed in the wonderful spaces between dessert and cheese plates. It shouldn’t be missed.
For my version (see the cheat sheet below for details), I put in a total 340g of this lovely 71% cacao Valrhona bittersweet chocolate (or more than 50% of flour weight), the bread has to be transforming and decadent. I should find some higher quality cherries to add to the mix.
|Sourdough chocolate cherry rolls|
My first attempt is to make a chocolate bread using a sourdough starter and chocolate three ways: chunks, melted and cocoa. This recipe is adapted from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook. If you don’t have a starter, there are steps outlined in the cheat sheet to make a preferment the night before.
Another way to approach this bread is to make it more like a quick bread, rather than artisan sourdough bread, with flours, such as rye and buckwheat, which give the bread a darker tone. My next project would be to make a version of the rye levain bread I made earlier, and substitute chocolate and cherries as add-ins, instead of caramelized onions. My head is filled with so many bread ideas, inspired by the one I ate at Blue Hill.